I don’t remember her full name. We only ever called her “Miss B.” She taught speed reading at Jefferson Senior High School. I already loved to read. The thought of being able to do more of it, in less time, seemed magical.
I sat in the front row. I wanted to be as close to the knowledge as possible. I sat at my desk. Leaning forward. One leg forward. One leg back. As if in the starting blocks. And in a way I was. We all were. Starting.
She started the classes with tips that seemed straight from the required lecture provided by the state. My left leg started to sag in place. What was this? Where was the magic? Disappointment pulled at my shoulders.
Then one day she stood at the front of the class holding a stick. Dowsing rods — I didn’t have the language for it then — in fact I had to look it up again today. I thought she called them divining rods (and I thought, indeed, it was.). She told us she could find water using them. Magic. I knew there had to be magic! My feet back in the blocks, poised for the race. She explained you did the same for the words. Let your eyes wander across the page and search out the most important words. With practice, it will come easier. Faster. Your eyes will flow across the waves of words and grab hold of the ones most poignant to the story. It worked. The magic worked.
I am a voracious reader. I suppose I’m fast, but that has never really been the point. It has always been about the magic. And that has never wavered. Miss B. gave that to me, to us — a magical start!
The sun is coming up. Feet joyfully in the starting blocks. I smile. Magic is all around. And so it begins…